George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

Brady Leads House F⁠i⁠gh⁠t⁠ ⁠t⁠o S⁠t⁠op IRS Abuse and Pro⁠t⁠ec⁠t⁠ Free Speech

By: Guest Author / 2016

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a Ways and Means Committee-led bill stopping the IRS from targeting donors to tax-exempt organizations. The measure, the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act (H.R. 5053), passed 240-182.

“No American should fear their support of non-profit organizations will lead to targeting or harassment by the IRS. The First Amendment is the foundation of our liberties, and we have the right to criticize our nation and fight for our beliefs without fearing government retaliation,” said U.S. Representative Kevin Brady, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee who successfully passed legislation banning the IRS from targeting Americans.

Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation who worked with House conservatives to advance the bill, said, “The IRS is a rogue agency, at war with the Constitution and the American people. Every time Congress passes a bill like this, Congress stands with the American people, against governmental tyranny. Chairman Brady, Chairman Roskam and the other Members who stood against the IRS have stood with the American people. We owe these Members a debt of gratitude.”

Background: H.R. 5053 would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from collecting the identity of donors who contribute to tax-exempt organizations. Under this legislation, a tax-exempt organization would be required to report only information on donors who contribute $5,000 or more during a single tax year and who are either an officer or director of the organization or one of its five highest paid employees. This information would be excluded from public disclosure.

Current law requires section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations to report information on substantial donors. The IRS defines a substantial donor as a contributor who gives $5,000 or more to an organization in a calendar year. While the IRS does not make this information public, there have been instances where IRS employees have improperly accessed and released the Schedule B donor list. This bill addresses the concern that the IRS is collecting sensitive information about donors who contribute to tax-exempt organizations. Although the IRS is required by law to maintain the confidentiality of this information, there have been widely reported instances in which the information was released to third parties. By limiting the contribution information tax-exempt organizations report to the IRS, the provision will protect taxpayers’ identities and help prevent inappropriate political targeting by the IRS.

House Committee on Ways and Means HR 5053

Ways and Means Hearing on HR 5053

List of Organizations Supporting H.R. 5053:

60 Plus Association

Able Americans

Advance Arkansas Institute

Alabama Policy Institute

American Center for Law and Justice

American Commitment

The American Conservative Union

American Council for Capitol Formation

American Dream Foundation

American Values

Advertising, Inc.

Americans for Less Regulation

Americans for Limited Government

Americans for Competitive Enterprise

Americans for Prosperity

Americans for Tax Reform

Born Free American LLC

Campaign for Liberty

CapStand Council for Policy and Ethics

Cause of Action Institute

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Center for Individual Freedom

Center for Worker Freedom

Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom

Citizens United

Coalition for a Strong America

Commonwealth Foundation

Compact for America Educational Foundation, Inc.

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Concerned Veterans for America

Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund

Coolidge Reagan Foundation

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Digital Liberty

Family Policy Alliance

Free Speech Coalition

Freedom Alliance

Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce


Frontiers of Freedom

Generation Opportunity

Grassroot Hawaii Action

Heritage Action for America

High Frontier

Hispanic Leadership Fund

Idaho Freedom Foundation

Illinois Policy Action

Independent Women's Forum

Independent Women's Voice

Institute for Energy Research

Institute for Liberty

Institute for Policy Innovation

The James Madison Institute

Jeffersonian Project

Kansas Policy Institute

The Leadership Institute

Less Government

Let Freedom Ring

Libertas Institute

Liberty Messenger USA

The LIBRE Initiative

The Madison Coalition

Main Street Growth Project

Media Research Center

Movie to Movement

National Federation of Republican Assemblies

National Pro-Life Alliance

National Rifle Association

National Taxpayers Union

Next Generation Freedom Fund

One Day In America

Property Rights Alliance

Put Growth First

R Street Institute

Reaching America

Republican Jewish Coalition

Rio Grande Foundation

Rule of Law Defense Fund

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council

State Policy Network

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Tea Party Nation

Tea Party Patriots

Texas Public Policy Foundation

Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Traditional Values Coalition

United States Justice Foundation

Vote America Now

The Weyrich Lunch

Women for Democracy in America, Inc.